While there’s something to be said for only being as old as you feel, there are some inevitable changes that naturally occur with age. Some of them affect muscles, joints, and bones—all structures that play key roles in daily movements. Below are six ways aging impacts muscles, joints, and bones and some of the things older adults can do to minimize each issue.
1. Increased Inflammation
Inflammation is a type of tissue swelling that tends to naturally increase with age. It’s also what can make arthritis, the most common inflammation-based condition, so painful for older adults. The CDC estimates nearly 55 million Americans have some type of arthritis. Osteoarthritis (which is caused by age-related wear) and rheumatoid arthritis are the two most common forms of arthritis in older adults. While the condition isn’t curable, seniors can take steps to reduce their arthritis risk by:
• Exercising regularly
• Eating fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, green leafy veggies, and other nutrient-rich foods
• Managing their weight
By making positive lifestyle choices, especially eating nutritious foods and exercising regularly, many older adults can delay the impacts of aging. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional elderly home care. Allen, TX, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.
2. Age-Related Weight Gain
Metabolism slows naturally with age, which is one of the reasons seniors are more susceptible to weight gain later in life. Excess weight also places added stress on joints and bones, which can make nearby muscles inflamed or irritated. According to the National Institutes of Health, seniors can offset issues with age-related weight gain by opting for smaller, well-balanced meals and only refilling a plate when hungry.
3. Lack of Sufficient Hydration
A lack of sufficient hydration can affect older bones, joints, and muscles. Seniors are often affected by dehydration because they have less water in their bodies. Medications can also contribute to a lack of sufficient hydration. Also, seniors are less likely to notice the sensation of thirst. One way to minimize this problem is to keep a refillable bottle of water nearby at all times.\
4. Bone Loss Related to Age
Age-related bone loss is a gradual and progressive loss of bone density. It means new bone tissue formation is slowing down. One of the most effective ways for seniors to minimize bone loss related to aging is to get more calcium and vitamin D, since these essential nutrients help with bone formation. Low-fat dairy products, fatty fish, seeds, almonds, certain green leafy veggies, and fortified foods are some dietary sources of calcium and vitamin D. Supplements may be helpful as well.
Bone loss is only one of many age-related conditions older adults may experience. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality senior home care. Trust Home Care Assistance to help your elderly loved one age in place safely and comfortably.
5. Bone Diseases Common among Seniors
Senior women are more likely to experience issues with osteoporosis, a bone disease that causes both bones and joints to become more brittle because too much bone tissue is lost. When this happens, there’s an increased risk of falling or experiencing fractures. Muscles can be affected as well if seniors become less active because of concerns about falling or instability. Bone formation in seniors can also be affected by Paget’s disease, which interferes with the body’s ability to replace bone tissue. Prevention often involves healthy lifestyle adjustments, such as exercising more, stretching before getting active, and eating more nutrient-rich foods.
6. Age-Related Muscle Loss
Also called sarcopenia, age-related muscle loss actually starts after the age of 30 and continues into the later years of life. Changes in hormone levels may be a factor as well. Weaker muscles can also put more pressure on bones and joints and increase age-related wear and the risk of issues with mobility and range of motion. Age-related muscle loss may be reduced if seniors make an effort to:
• Increase daily protein intake
• Adopt a low- or moderate-impact workout that targets core muscles
• Explore water-based activities or gentler forms of exercise like yoga to target key muscle groups in a less stressful way
Severe musculoskeletal issues can make it difficult for aging adults to handle the basic activities of daily living on their own. If you’re the primary family caregiver for a senior loved one living in Allen, live-in care is available if your loved one’s health has become too difficult to manage without professional expertise. At Home Care Assistance, we take measures to help seniors prevent illness and injury by assisting with exercise and mobility, preparing nutritious meals, helping with bathing and other personal hygiene tasks, and much more. Trust your loved one’s care to the professionals at Home Care Assistance. Reach out to one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (972) 548-0392.